You should first find out whether there is a social worker involved with the family already. It may be that social workers are already worried about the child. If the social workers think there is a serious risk to the child, the child could be on a child protection plan. If the child is disabled, or falling behind what they should be doing for their age, then they might be a child in need.
If you are worried about a child that you know and there is no social worker involved you will have a big decision to make. We would suggest that you need to think about:
- How serious is the risk to the child?
- What do you think will happen to the child if nobody does anything?
- What do you think you could do to make sure the child does not come to any harm?
- If you cannot stop the child coming to harm, you will have to decide whether to get in touch with the people who can. That is Children’s Services, the Police or the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children).
Children’s Services and the NSPCC have social workers who look into it when someone says they are worried about a child. Usually the police only go in if they think a child is in immediate danger of being hurt. Mostly, it would be social workers who talk to the child and the parents, to try and find out what is happening. They would also ask other people, like teachers, doctors and the police, what they know about the family.
It might be that you don’t want the parents to know that you have reported your worries about their child. The social worker should try to respect your wishes, but they can’t guarantee that your name won’t come out. If social workers go to court for a Care Order, the parents might find out then.